FA in 'final stages' of search for new UAE manager

Former Al Ain and Al Ahli manager Cosmin Olaroiu linked with role

Head coach Cosmin Olaroiu of Jiangsu Suning reacts as he watches his players competing against Henan Jianye in their 22nd round match during the 2019 Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL) in Nanjing city, east China's Jiangsu province, 13 August 2019.

Jiangsu Suning defeated Henan Jianye 3-0.No Use China. No Use France. Reuters
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The Football Association is in the “final stages” of appointing a new UAE manager, as former Al Ain and Al Ahli manager Cosmin Olaroiu continues to be linked with the role.

The FA has decided on a shortlist of four names, with Spain's Under-21 head coach Luis de la Fuente and Al Dhafra manager Vuk Rasovic thought to be two of the candidates considered.

Olaroiu has emerged as another potential appointment, although the FA has thus far not confirmed his inclusion among the final quartet. The Romanian, currently manager of Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning, was on the FA’s initial list.

Asked on Sunday night during an interview on Dubai Sports if Olaroiu and Rasovic were two of the four remaining names being considered, FA president Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi said: "I don't have the names of the four shortlisted now, but the names of the two you have mentioned are among the 12 coaches in the first list we observed.

“I am not sure if they are among the four shortlisted, but it is a matter of time - days, weeks - before we announce the selected coach who we find the most suitable for the role in the next phase."

The FA's national-team committee has accelerated its search for a manager since confirmation last week that the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, postponed because of the coronavirus, have been rescheduled for October and November.

With four matches in round two remaining, the UAE sit fourth in Group G, five points off leaders Vietnam, although they do have a game in hand over all of their rivals.

Only the group winners are guaranteed to progress to the third round of qualification, alongside the four best runners-up from the eight groups.


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The national team take on Malaysia at home on October 8, before facing Indonesia away five days later. They round off their campaign against Thailand and Vietnam, both at home, on November 12 and 17. Venues for the home matches have yet to be confirmed.

Ivan Jovanovic was originally tasked with guiding the UAE through those final four qualifiers, but was dismissed in April without having managed a match.

"We are now in the final stages to settle the file that the team's committee worked on,” Sheikh Rashid told Dubai Sports.

“They have studied during all this period a great number of coaches’ CVs before shortlisting four coaches based on specific rules and regulations.

“The suggested names were shown to the board of directors and we have given the green light to the committee to start negotiating with the most suitable coach. So, we are now in the final stages of the selection and we will announce it, if God wills, this month."